COPE Project gala funds scholarships for local youth

By Calvin-Allen Miller

Contributing Writer


Scholars of Minnesota-COPE Project is holding its Seventh Annual Scholarship Program/Gala and Fundraiser on Sunday, August 12, 2012 from 4-8 pm (dinner at 5 pm) at the Airport Hilton Hotel in Bloomington.

The gala is COPE’s annual scholarship celebration. The proceeds will fund scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year. This event features a dinner and a silent auction. Students are recognized in several categories including Scholars’ ACT/SAT Perfect Attendance Awards, Outstanding Volunteer Community Service, Highest GPA, Participation Awards and other great accomplishments during their attendance at high school and post-secondary institutions.

Local community leader, attorney and TV talk show host Diana Longrie will be the guest speaker at the Scholars of Minnesota-COPE Project Scholarship Program/Gala to be held August 12
Photo courtesy of COPE Project

There will also be a presentation by one of the COPE scholars, Brandon Richardson Hill. This fall, he will attend Stanford University.

The guest speaker for the evening will be Diana Longrie, J.D., a local community leader, attorney and TV talk show host. Longrie attended Hamline University School of Law and has B.A. degrees in chemistry and biology from the College of St. Scholastica-Duluth.

Prior to serving the City of Maplewood as its first woman mayor, she was a volunteer community leader and activist in civic engagement. While serving as mayor, Longrie testified in support of eminent domain reforms benefiting seniors, homeowners and small business. She was a vocal champion for  the Conservation Easement Initiative to protect all of Maplewood’s publicly owned open spaces from future commercial or residential development; she implemented a policy that all council, commission and task force meetings be cablecast for the public; and supported citizens’ involvement in the creation of public policy.

Longrie has served as a chair/board member for a number of organizations including the Minnesota State Bar Association/General Practice Session, the Hennepin County Solo Practice Section, the Volunteer Lawyers’ Network, and the St. Croix River Valley Boy’s Choir.  Longrie additionally taught conversational English and Basic American legal principles on three separate occasions at universities in Xi’an, China.

In addition to her law practice, Longrie is the host and producer of a weekly, hour-long cable TV program, Off the Record News. In its ninth year, the award-winning program serves Ramsey and Washington County. Through interviews with community leaders, Longrie advances the need in our country for universal single-payer health care, jobs, tax reform, peace and a national energy policy which includes renewable energy as the cornerstone to America’s future energy production.

Longrie, a DFL member, is currently a candidate for U.S. representative in the Minnesota Fourth Congressional District.

Scholars of Minnesota-COPE (Creating Opportunities for Post-secondary Education) Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist students in the community to obtain educational opportunities, financial support and other resources they need to reach their highest academic, professional and personal goals.

It is a community outreach post-secondary educational program, designed to promote “student success” for a vast majority of inner-city disadvantaged youth.

COPE Project arranges and provides the necessary tutoring and/or mentoring programs to assure that students achieve success. These preparations include a 10-week ACT/SAT college prep class held at the University of Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Ernest Davenport and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Additionally, COPE students and other community students are involved in a 12-week seminar/workshop where they are completing applications for enrollment and financial aid and practicing college essay writing, interview skills and portfolio development for the spring college tour sponsored by the Minneapolis Urban League.

Since the organization started in 2006, COPE has assisted 171 scholars (including several homeless youth), and 16 members have graduated from a college or university. Scholarship range from $200 ACT/SAT perfect attendance awards to $1,000 for the highest GPA, and outstanding community service awards.


For more information about the fundraiser, including tickets prices, call 651-260-0039 or go to To contribute to the scholarship fund, send a check or money order payable to Scholars of MN-COPE, P.O. Box 65392, St. Paul, MN 55165-0392. You may also go the website and give through PayPal.

Originally from the St. Paul suburban area, Calvin-Allen Mickel Miller is a 1999 graduate of Saint Thomas Military Academy (Mendota Heights, MN). In May 2004, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and journalism with a minor in broadcasting from Jackson State University in Mississippi. Currently, Miller is a Senior Territory Representative, Field Sales for Ecolab (Kay Chemical Company) in Mississippi.